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There Are Moments That The Words Don’t Reach


Dear friends – You may have noticed that the blog has been silent for quite awhile. I wish it were for happy reasons – no time for reading or writing because of our move and the excitement of my new job – but that’s not the case.

Nate Hebert, often known as “the boyfriend” here on the blog, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, Aug. 14 at our home. He was 35 years old.

I won’t share the details of how he died here, in part because the police are still investigating and in part because he was a private person who wouldn’t have wanted me to do that – there’s a reason he didn’t come up often when I was writing here. Suffice it to say that I know in my heart his death was an accident.

Nate and I were together for nearly eight years, just slightly less time than this blog has been around. Our first date involved watching the 2008 election returns, then going out for a drink on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin to watch the students celebrate. Our relationship wasn’t perfect, but I loved him and respected his intelligence, curiosity, and commitment to building our life together. I was so proud when he showed persistence to get his most recent job as a welder, and so excited when it became clear that welding was among his many unexpected talents. He will be missed so very much.

I took the picture at the top of this post on Saturday, Aug. 13, the day before he died, because I thought the sky was beautiful. In taking it, I inadvertently captured one of the last moments when my life seemed to make sense.

There have been so many surreal things about this experience, moments where I catch my breath at something that reminds me of Nate or I get pulled into the minutiae of setting up memorials and memorial funds and I can’t believe this is life right now.

I wonder, in those moments, if I will ever get to feel normal again. I wonder if I will be able to be a person who doesn’t cry every day out of sadness of having lost, so suddenly, someone I loved so much; out of anger for having our plans fall apart so spectacularly; or out of fear that I am somehow damaged beyond repair by a trauma I don’t have the words to explain.

For the moment, I am living back home with my parents, commuting about an hour to my new job and trying to wrap my head around what comes next. I don’t want to let this space disappear – Nate was so supportive and excited about everything that blogging brought to my life – but at the moment I can’t see through to a time when writing about books and reading and life will make any sense. So for now, consider this blog on hiatus while I try to find my way through the long, hard process of grieving.

I waited a long time to post about Nate’s death here because it’s been hard, almost impossible, for me to broadcast this awful thing out into the world and accept the kindness that has come my way in response. He was so young and so loved and I am brokenhearted that he is gone. But I am also so lucky to have such a wide-ranging community of friends in person and online to help share the burden of his passing and celebrate the joy of his life.

Your good thoughts and prayers and caring words are appreciated more than I can say, even if, for the moment, I don’t have the emotional capacity to reach back and say thank you.

With sorrow and love, Kim

nate and kim

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • hillary roberts September 5, 2016, 10:33 am

    oh Kim I am so so sorry. I will be praying for you.

  • Lucy September 5, 2016, 10:41 am

    Kim, my heart aches for you. My thoughts are with you at this difficult time.

  • bookmammal September 5, 2016, 10:56 am

    I am so sorry. My heart hurts for you. Please be kind and gentle to yourself, and give yourself the time you need to find your new normal.

  • Savvy September 5, 2016, 11:03 am

    Kim – I did notice you’ve been quiet here. So, so sorry for your lose. I can’t begin to imagine what you are going through. Take all the time you need. Books and your blogging audience will be here when you feel up to it. Sending you virtual hugs.

  • Kate September 5, 2016, 11:15 am

    Kim, I am so sorry to hear this — my heart is aching for you and for everyone whose life Nate touched. I’ll be praying for you. <3.

  • Bex September 5, 2016, 12:16 pm

    I wondered why you’d been quiet, I am so very sorry for your loss. I know there’s nothing I can say that will help except that I’m sending love and so many prayers for you from across the ocean. Take all the time you need,I’ll be happy to see (read) you whenever you’re back xx

  • kelly September 5, 2016, 1:08 pm

    I am so, so sorry for your loss, Kim. I’m keeping you in my good thoughts <3

  • Florinda September 5, 2016, 1:25 pm

    We’ll be here when you’re ready to be here again. Thinking of you often and sending love and support always. xo

  • Rhapsodyinbooks September 5, 2016, 1:36 pm

    Kim, I am so sorry! I am thinking of you and also sending support!

  • Sarah's Book Shelves September 5, 2016, 1:55 pm

    Kim – I’m so so sorry for Nate’s passing and everything you’re going through. You wrote about it beautifully.

  • Teresa September 5, 2016, 1:56 pm

    Kim, I’ve been thinking of you and praying for you. It’s such a terrible situation to be in, but please now that you have friends all over the world who care about you and are wishing you well.

    • Jenny @ Reading the End September 5, 2016, 8:19 pm

      Teresa’s said exactly what I wanted to, so I’ll just add my voice to hers: the prayers, and the friends all over the place. Take care of yourself, friend, and know that you are supported and loved while you’re going through this terrible time.

  • Farin September 5, 2016, 2:02 pm

    Kim, I am so sorry for your enormous loss, and I can’t imagine how hard this post was to write. Thinking of you and sending big hugs your way.

  • Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf September 5, 2016, 2:05 pm

    I’ve been thinking of you every day since I saw your Facebook post. I am so sorry for your unimaginable loss. You are loved by our bookish community, and I’m sure I’m not alone when I say, your blog remains in my feed reader regardless of how little or much you post.

  • Beth September 5, 2016, 2:24 pm

    Oh, Kim. I know there are no words that can help, but my thoughts are with you. I hope you are able to have the space and time you need to heal.

  • Faye September 5, 2016, 2:32 pm

    Kim, I’m a long time reader who’s never commented before. I wish so much that my first time wasn’t about something so heartbreaking. I hope you have the support you need to make it through this time. I’m so very sorry for your unimaginable loss and my thoughts are with you.

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) September 5, 2016, 3:17 pm

    Kim, I know I have mostly been a lurker in the past few years (especially since letting Steph & Tony Investigate! lapse), but I wanted to lend my voice to the chorus of support here and send you my condolences at your tragic and terrible loss. I’m so so so sorry to hear about Nate. I know there is nothing anyone can say to make your life make sense or give you back what you have lost, but do know that you have many many people who are sending you all the love in the world and know the pain you now carry in you heart. Unfortunately, the only way to deal with grief is to wade through it, one second at a time when that is all you can stand. Be gentle and kind with yourself and I wish you peace.

  • Gabby September 5, 2016, 3:28 pm

    My deepest sympathies to you, Kim. I can’t even imagine what you must be going through.

  • Heather September 5, 2016, 3:29 pm

    There are no words to say at a time like this. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss, and I’m thinking of you as you mourn the loss of someone who sounds like an incredible person.

  • AnneL September 5, 2016, 3:41 pm

    This sucks. So much. You’re at the bit right now where it is amazing that you can even get out of bed. Much much later there may be a bit where you want to read books and write about them again. If so, we’ll be here. In the meantime, sending strength and all good thoughts.

  • Alise @ Read.Write.Repeat. September 5, 2016, 3:50 pm

    Kim, I am so sorry to hear this. I lost a boyfriend in a tragic accident years ago and I know the pain and confusion can be crushing. Prayers for you, the family, and all who knew Nate. If you need anything or even just someone to talk to or cry with, don’t hesitate to reach out.

  • Kay September 5, 2016, 4:17 pm

    Kim, there are no words to express my deep sorrow for you. Truly no words. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and know that I really mean that. Not just a phrase. Take care of yourself, please. Hugs to you.

  • Bettina September 5, 2016, 4:37 pm

    Kim, I’m so, so sorry for your loss. This is so awful and I honestly can’t even begin to imagine how you must feel. I’m thinking of you and hoping that with time, things will get better, even though it must be unimaginably hard right now.

  • Kailana September 5, 2016, 4:41 pm

    I am so sorry that this has happened. Take care of yourself and we will be here when (if) you are ready to come back. 🙂

  • iliana September 5, 2016, 5:54 pm

    Dear Kim I’m so very sorry to hear this. There really are no words. Just please know that I’m sending you thoughts and prayers. We’ll be here for you.

  • Reader Lane September 5, 2016, 6:31 pm

    Dear Kim, I’m so sorry for your loss. Deepest sympathy to you and Nate’s family and friends and wishing you comfort in such a difficult time.
    Susan aka ReaderLane

  • nancy s September 5, 2016, 6:33 pm

    So, so sorry for your loss, Kim. Take the time to take care of yourself…and we’ll be here when you’re ready to come back…

  • Shannon September 5, 2016, 6:58 pm

    “Sorry” cannot begin to express our feelings, nor can it yet begin to touch your sorrow. Just know that you are not alone, we are here when you are ready.

  • Kristen M. September 5, 2016, 7:11 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss, Kim. Sending all of my love and warm, comforting thoughts your way.

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) September 5, 2016, 7:15 pm

    Oh my gosh, I am in shock. Kim, I am so sorry for your heartbreaking loss. Please let us know if there’s anything we can do for you.

  • Christine @ BookishlyB September 5, 2016, 8:20 pm

    I was wondering where your “lately” posts were, I love them! I am so, so very sorry for your loss. But, at the end of the day, a million condolences will never make up for anything. Take time, grieve, be gentle with yourself, and always do what’s best for yourself.

  • Julie Peterson September 5, 2016, 8:29 pm

    I’m a so sorry that you are going through this. I am thinking of you.

  • Julie Peterson September 5, 2016, 8:30 pm

    I’m am so sorry that you are going through this. I am thinking of you.

  • Heather September 5, 2016, 8:35 pm

    I’m so sorry Kim.

  • Robert Burgin September 5, 2016, 9:28 pm

    Those of us who love your posts are sorry for your loss, Kim. May you find peace at this most difficult time.

  • emma September 5, 2016, 10:12 pm

    so sorry for your loss Kim. My prayers are with you, may you find peace and treasure all your good memories together

  • Shaina September 5, 2016, 11:51 pm

    I’m so, so sorry, Kim. You’re in all our thoughts and hearts.

  • Charlie September 6, 2016, 2:37 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Kim. You’ll be in my thoughts x

  • Diane September 6, 2016, 5:56 am

    Kim, so sorry to hear about your devastating loss.

  • Jennifer September 6, 2016, 6:13 am

    So very sorry for your loss, Kim. Saying prayers and sending hugs.

  • Nupur September 6, 2016, 6:27 am

    Kim- How tragic. Please accept my deepest condolences. Much love to you.

  • Amanda September 6, 2016, 6:44 am

    Any words I can think to write here seem to fall flat in the face of such sadness. Just know this community of readers will think of you often in the days and months to come. Take care of yourself.

  • sassymonkey September 6, 2016, 7:16 am

    I’m so sorry, Kim. You’ve been in my thoughts these last few weeks.

  • Beth F September 6, 2016, 7:46 am

    My thoughts have continued to be with you daily.

  • Daniela September 6, 2016, 8:03 am

    Words always seem trite at moments like this, but I’m so sorry for your loss. You’ll be in my prayers.

  • Jeane September 6, 2016, 9:06 am

    I felt like crying, reading your post. I wish so much your silence had been for one of those other reasons. My heart aches for you. Know that we are all thinking of you with compassion. So very sorry to hear the news.

  • Michelle September 6, 2016, 9:25 am

    Words are never adequate in these situations. I wish I could take away all of your pain and suffering; no one should have to suffer through this. Please know that you are in my thoughts and that I am giving you a big virtual hug with all of my love. I am so sorry.

  • Jeanne September 6, 2016, 10:51 am

    It will take some time to (as I put it in a post after my mother died “feel like you have skin again”). There’s no telling how much time.
    But I’ll echo what others have said, that when you’re ready to write again, we’ll be here ready to read it.

  • Stephanie September 6, 2016, 11:15 am

    I know I’m just another voice here, but I’m sitting at work crying over your loss. I’m so sorry. So, so sorry. I send you love and virtual hugs.

  • Cassie Patrizio September 6, 2016, 6:16 pm

    Oh Kim, I am so sorry for your loss. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you and all those that you love and that loved your boyfriend at this time.

  • Dorothy N September 6, 2016, 7:01 pm

    Kim, so very sorry to read of the passing of your beloved, Nate. I hope the words of comfort that we offer here aid in healing your broken heart. May the support of your family and friends make this very difficult time a little easier. God bless.

  • jenn September 7, 2016, 8:40 am

    so very, very sorry, Kim. sending you all the ghost hugs (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8570050/gifs/hug_ghost.gif) and love and hope.

  • Meghan September 7, 2016, 1:16 pm

    Kim, I’m so so sorry for your loss. I’m sending you as many good thoughts as I can. Grief requires patience and is so unbelievably hard. When you are ready to come back, we will be here waiting.

  • Lynda September 7, 2016, 6:03 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I’ve never commented to your blog before, and I’m so sorry that this is the first time. I just wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Melissa F. September 7, 2016, 6:20 pm

    I’ve been thinking of you so much since you shared the news. Such a devastating loss. Sending much love to you.

  • Katie @ Words for Worms September 7, 2016, 7:33 pm

    You’ve been on my mind so much. Sending endless love and support your way. We will be here when you’re ready to come back.

  • RR Gilmore September 7, 2016, 10:21 pm


  • RR Gilmore September 7, 2016, 10:22 pm

    💜💜💜💜💜💜 i

  • Julie @ Smiling Shelves September 8, 2016, 10:09 am

    I am so sorry to hear this. Something like this will never make sense, and it’s insane how much grief changes your life. I speak from experience, so I can tell you that it does get better. Gradually, with lots of ups and downs. Give yourself time. Take care of yourself. I’ll be praying for you.

  • Lisa September 8, 2016, 10:19 am

    I’m so sorry. I wish you peace.

  • Priscilla September 9, 2016, 3:08 pm

    Oh Kim, my heart goes out to you, your family, and Nate’s family.

  • Chrissy September 10, 2016, 10:10 am

    Something I shared today via social media after being inspired by all of your comments here. Book people are the best! “Dear friend and book champion extraordinaire Kim Ukura’s outstanding book blog Sophisticated Dorkiness is on hiatus as she navigates her way through a heartbreaking personal tragedy, but in the meantime, what if those of us in the book community encouraged folks to get familiar with her work, checking out and sharing her previous posts so that she knows we’ll be there for her when she’s ready to come back. Who’s in?”

  • Unruly Reader September 10, 2016, 10:39 am

    Dear Kim,
    You are so much in my thoughts and prayers these days. I wish you all the strength you need to get through this difficult time, and I wish you comfort. Please know that so many of us are with you in spirit.

  • Christina September 10, 2016, 11:19 am

    Kim, my deepest condolences on your loss. I will be keeping you in my thoughts over the coming weeks, months as you grieve and try to find peace.

  • Catherine September 10, 2016, 2:27 pm

    No words for what you’re going through, Kim. You are brave and strong, even if you feel you’re not. We are all here when/if you choose to come back- you are always a presence in the bookish community.

  • Kayo September 11, 2016, 6:36 am

    Oh my, so sorry for your loss. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Lisa September 11, 2016, 5:00 pm

    So very sorry, Kim.

  • maphead September 11, 2016, 9:50 pm

    Dearest Kim,

    I just found out only a few minutes ago about your horrible loss. Sadly, there are no words for what you are going through. My thoughts and hopes are with you during this most difficult time.

  • Sarah @ Sarah Says Read September 12, 2016, 9:38 am

    Kim, I just heard – I’m so, so sorry for your loss. I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts during this rough time. ((hugs))

  • Monica (aka monnibo) September 12, 2016, 12:15 pm

    I know we only exchanged occasional blog comments, but I wanted to say that there are no words to express how sorry I am to hear about this or much I can say to help you get through this. I lost my dad more than a year ago and it seemed wrong that the world kept going when something so monumental had shaken our lives. I’m glad you have your parents’ support and hopefully more family and friends around you when you need them. Sending big hugs and strong feelings through the interwebs.

  • jessica tripler September 12, 2016, 12:50 pm

    Kim, I am so sorry for your loss. a million hugs to you.

  • Ana @ things mean a lot September 12, 2016, 1:05 pm

    I’m so, so sorry for your loss, Kim. Hugs and very best wishes.

  • Amanda September 12, 2016, 2:11 pm

    Oh Kim. I’m sorry isn’t enough to say. You are in my thoughts. I hope you find comfort in many happy memories.

  • Christy September 12, 2016, 3:34 pm

    I just learned of this news. I’m so sorry for your loss, Kim. One of my friends lost her husband who suddenly died in his sleep at a young age, and I remember what a disorienting fog of grief the subsequent days and months were for her. Take care of yourself. *hug*

  • Chris September 12, 2016, 6:43 pm

    I’m so sorry, Kim. I can’t imagine what you’re going through or the grief you must be experiencing. I’ll keep you in my thoughts.

  • Jennifer September 13, 2016, 10:38 am

    My condolences to you … death is always hard. Day by day is all you can do to heal.

  • Melissa W September 13, 2016, 11:17 am

    Kim, I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending you many good thoughts and so many hugs. <3

  • Tanya Patrice September 13, 2016, 8:54 pm

    Just hugs!!! Big giant all encompassing ones!!!

  • Care September 13, 2016, 9:06 pm

    Oh Kim, my heart hurts for you, with you. {{{{hugs}}}}

  • Athira September 15, 2016, 11:43 am

    Kim, I am so so sorry for your loss! I have been out for a while and am only just seeing this. As everyone said, know that we are all thinking of you and sending you hugs and thoughts!

  • Amal September 15, 2016, 3:07 pm

    Your post about this incredible loss is beautiful and heartbreaking. It brought tears to my eyes.

  • Keith zukas September 16, 2016, 1:07 pm

    You’re so brave, Kim. Nic and my heart goes out to you.

  • kay September 17, 2016, 3:50 pm

    Kim, my heart goes out to you, and I am so sorry for your loss. Please take good care of yourself in these difficult times.

  • Jackie September 19, 2016, 6:38 am

    Kim, I’m so sorry to hear your news. I haven’t been on the Internet for a while, so have only just learnt about your terrible loss. I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re going through right now, or offer any advice. I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you and hope you can find some way to make each day a little easier. ((HUGS))

  • JaneGS September 21, 2016, 5:13 pm

    Take care and mourn and heal. Know that your readers and fellow bloggers will be here when you are ready to start posting and blogging again. The photo is absolutely beautiful, and my thoughts and prayers are with you as you deal with your loss.

  • Katie @ Doing Dewey September 25, 2016, 9:58 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ll keep you in my thoughts.

  • Jennygirl October 8, 2016, 11:11 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. Good thoughts, strength and peace to you.

  • susan October 25, 2016, 4:09 pm

    I’m just seeing your news for the first time. I am so very sorry. It’s shocking and I wish I could change it for you. Only thing that might help is being around family & those you love to pull you through this terrible time. Some things are unfortunately not understandable: why this loss happened. Oh it’ll always be with you, and I’m terribly sorry. I wish there was more to help.

  • Ashley December 8, 2016, 5:24 pm

    Hello there Kim. I stumbled upon your website while browsing through various book blogger sites. The very top post was “Working Through the Unimaginable” with the link to this posting.

    I am sorry to read about your loss. Sometimes writing does help to express and get out some feelings that need to be released.

    I am sure with the holidays coming around things will be especially difficult. It seems you have a wonderful outpouring of support here on your site and I hope you have just as much support in real life.

    A loss like that probably will never get easier. Time heals, that is a saying that has some truth, however I think that always feels hollow when people say it. No one else besides you knows what you are going through. People may say they know what you are going through etc. but they don’t. No one else is you.

    I hope you are doing okay.

    Healing vibes to you.

  • Debbie Wong January 14, 2017, 1:08 pm

    Hello I just read your most recent update and clicked on one of the links that led me to this post…I’m so sorry for your loss. And I’m sending you positive vibes from NYC. I hope you’re doing okay…judging from the many heartfelt comments from others, we are all fans of yours and we’re thinking of you.